- Be careful not to overuse quotes; be purposeful.
The majority of your essay should be in your own language and summarizing and paraphrasing ideas to show your ability to synthesize content. However, there are times where you want to include a direct reference to a text where you need to quote a specific passage.
When challenging or critiquing an argument of an author, it is helpful to include a specific reference to his or her language before offering your counterargument.
If you are analyzing literature, sometimes there is a specific part that really exemplifies a conflict or the author's style. In these cases, quoting is very appropriate.
- Integrating the quotation into your commentary
Setting up the quotation takes practice and skill. Once you have selected the quotation that you want to use, your job is to smoothly integrate it into your writing by weaving into your commentary.
The words before the quote and after the quote are important so that the reader can cohesively see the purpose behind the text evidence.
Therefore, it is important to provide context for each quotation. Provide the reader with context, establishing the basic scene or under what circumstances the text was written and being very clear to who is speaking: Is it the narrator? Is it the author? Is it a specific character? What is happening at this part of the book or plot?
- “Run-in” Format: naturally integrate the quote into your sentence.
Although no one in Maycomb had seen Boo for years, “the neighborhood thought that when Mr. Radley went under Boo would come out,” but instead, Boo’s older brother, Nathan Radley moved back to town to carry out their father’s restrictions on Boo (12).
Note: The citation is placed at the end of the paragraph even though the quotation ended earlier.
- Colon/Introductory Clause Format: set up the quote with an introductory clause.
Atticus tries to explain Mr. Cunningham’s involvement with the mob to Scout: “Mr. Cunningham’s basically a good man … he just has blind spots along with the rest of us” (157).
- Block Quotes: More than four lines
The block quote is used for direct quotations that are longer than four lines of prose, or longer than three lines of poetry. A block quote is always used when quoting dialogue between characters, as in a play. The block format does not include quotation marks since you are indicating that you are quoting by indenting the block of text. Introduce the block quote with a colon and then indent the quote one inch from the left margin.
It is not until near the end of The Hound of the Baskervilles that the hound itself is actually seen:
ELABORATING ON QUOTATIONS
Be sure to explain the significance of the quoted passage and how it relates to the point you are proving in your paragraph.
Sentence Starters to Cite Text Evidence
Sentence Starts to Elaborate on Text Evidence
Example of a Detailed Paragraph with Integrated Quotations
In Act One, Scene Two, Shakespeare uses metaphorical and ironic language in order to express that things are not always what they seem. When Claudius and Gertrude confront Hamlet about his grief over his father, he implies that they really have no understanding to the depths of his despair. He tells his mother, “Seem, madam! nay it is; I know not ‘seems’” (1.2.76). In this passage, he is responding to Gertrude’s request for him to not continue mourning his father’s death. Through this statement, Hamlet suggests that his mother has no idea of the suffering he experiences by playing on the word “seems.” Shakespeare then includes a series of litotes or understatements in order to emphasize his grief. When he says that “Nor customary suits of solemn black” (1.2.78) or “Nor windy suspiration of forced breath” (1.2.79), he implies that this is just his appearance of grief--it is not truly how he feels. By starting each line with “Nor” or “No,” he shows the contrast between reality and his feelings by negating his emotions. His metaphorical language also reinforces this theme. Hamlet says that “nor the fruitful river in the eye” can “denote” his true feelings (1.2.80). Here, Shakespeare uses this metaphor of a river to show the tears that he has over his father’s death. With this comparison, he reinforces the idea that there are different shapes to grieving, and the river in the eye, or the unending tears are only part of his grief. Hamlet concludes by stating that man has many “actions” that he might play in his outward appearance of grief, but he implies that it is only the individual on the inside who can truly see to the extent of one’s suffering. Through Hamlet's language, Shakespeare utilizes metaphorical and ironic language to depicts the complexity of Hamlet's unseemly grief over his father.
Check out these resources as well...
- Embedding quotations (University of North Carolina's Writing Center) --GREAT RESOURCE!
embedding quotations: https://www.sjsu.edu/writingcenter/docs/handouts/Embedding%20Quotations.pdf
integrating quotes: http://facultyweb.ivcc.edu/rrambo/eng1001/quotes.htm